On Mon, Jan 21, 2013 at 6:43 PM, Ralph DeCarli <[log in to unmask]>wrote:

> On Sat, 19 Jan 2013 19:32:39 -0800
> Gary Shannon <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> I had to think about this for a bit. I would be worried that "Bob
> eats asparagus [with a fork]" might imply that bob was eating the
> fork. In this sentence the meaning is clear, but those university
> cops drinking after midnight a few days back might be a bit confused.

First of all, it would be pragmatically unusual to think someone ate a fork
-- you probably wouldn't jump to that conclusion without more information.
 If you really care about this particular ambiguity for some reason, the
easy way to deal with it is separate "instrumental" with (indicating an
instrument used to complete a task), from "commitative" with (indicating a
relationship with another NP).  This happens all the time in natural
languages, so it's not that big a deal.

> Also, if I automate sentence construction, I want the user to
> completely describe the subject before moving to the verb and
> completely describe the verb before moving to the object.
> Your method, of course, would depend on your goal.

Do you consider the instrument or other prepositional elements inherently
part of the verb?